Isaiah Rashad Talks About Studying Outkast When He Was First Finding His Rap Voice

On the latest episode of People’s Party, Talib Kweli was joined by TDE rapper Isaiah Rashad for an interview that covered everything from the long gestation period of Rashad’s highly anticipated (and acclaimed! and charting!) sophomore effort The House Is Burning to big rap nerd stuff, like the merits of Magoo. But as fun as the interview was, it also offers a glimpse into who Isaiah Rashad is — a careful and well-studied student of hip-hop.

One of Rashad’s earliest teachers were none other than Atlanta hip-hop legends Outkast, who Rashad first discovered through a remixed version of Big Boi and Andre’s first album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.

“The first time I heard that shit, was chopped and screwed,” says Rashad. “I didn’t even know what it really sounded like I was just like ‘what is this fucking craziest ass shit my cousin is playing,’ but after that, I got more into it.”

Rashad would go on to take inspiration from every Outkast album, taking detailed notes along the way.

“I knew I wanted to be a rapper as a kid but around a teenager is when I really started…got on Limewire, and stole all ya’ll shit, just to study it,” he says. “I’d be at work… writing down the lyrics that ya’ll would say and I would be trying to break it down and reformulate it.”

Through the careful study of the great MCs who came before him, Rashad was able to carve out his own unique voice to add to the hip-hop canon. Check out the full video above to hear more about Rashad’s early influences and his love for all things Outkast. Yes, even Idlewild.